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Home 5 Press Releases - Ministry 5 Ministerial Meeting of BIMSTEC held in Colombo

Ministerial Meeting of BIMSTEC held in Colombo

Ministerial Meeting of BIMSTEC held in Colombo
The 18th Ministerial Meeting of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) was held on 29 March 2022 at the Bandaranaike Memorial International Conference Hall (BMICH) in hybrid mode under the chairmanship of Sri Lanka. The Foreign Ministers of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal and Thailand participated at the Ministerial Meeting in person while the Foreign Minister of Myanmar participated virtually.

Assuming the Chairmanship of the meeting, Prof. G.L. Pieris, Minister of Foreign Affairs, stated that Sri Lanka’s geo-strategic location at the centre of the Indian Ocean has been a magnet, attracting a diverse variety of nations and peoples, over the centuries from far and near, be they traders, seafarers, religious missionaries, scholars and writers to its shores. He further stated that Sri Lanka is providing the setting to bring together Foreign Ministers and diplomats from South Asia and South East Asia in Colombo under the auspices of the BIMSTEC, serving as a bridge between these two regions.

Minister Pieris called for action within the BIMSTEC for greater economic cooperation among the countries. He emphasised that as the trajectory of global economic growth shifts towards Asia, the trade and investment component of BIMSTEC countries should be revitalised. He also stated that participation and networking among the private sectors in the region is a significant step towards this end and that the organisation should take the lead in building a robust and dynamic private sector network and facilitate the private sectors in this region to work together to enhance the flow of trade and investment.

Leading the Sri Lanka delegation, Minister for Regional Cooperation, Tharaka Balasuirya stated that at a time where the economic centrality of the world is shifting towards Asia and consumption patterns are ever changing by this shift, BIMSTEC remains vested with a group of countries that could bring a great change in the global economy. He added that as a founding member of this group, Sri Lanka finds it significant that the country has this opportunity to host the Summit in Sri Lanka and steer the journey of this important group towards a concrete outcome.

The visiting Ministers of Foreign Affairs agreed at the meeting that BIMSTEC is a vibrant platform for prosperity and peace and emphasized that BIMSTEC’s work on trade and agreement could be a way forward in accelerating cooperation among the countries. The Ministers further encouraged the BIMSTEC Secretariat to fast-track activities in sectors such as agriculture, food security, connectivity and energy.

Sri Lanka thanked the member states of BIMSTEC for the cooperation extended during its tenure as the Chair of the group and ceremoniously handed over the Chairmanship of BIMSTEC to Thailand, the incoming Ministerial Chair.